Assuming you are going to publish a book of some type (and it doesn’t matter if it’s self or traditional) you are going to need buyers. Readers, preferably, but anybody’s money works just as well. So, where do you find those walking moneybags in a tight economy? Everywhere and anywhere, you just need to not frighten them away with heavy-handed techniques.
First of all, you could consider your local arts scene. Everyplace has one, and the more it gets suppressed by the locals, the more fiercely it burns. Ariel Gore is a teacher of this promotional method, most easily found in her ‘How To Become A Famous Writer Before You’re Dead’ (Three Rivers Press, New York 2007). With lots of tips for self promotion and conquering your introverted fears, she divides the concept into bite-sized portions, then presents them as fine cuisine. Don’t just wait around for a chance to read your work in public; create that event, find a musician, get some puppets! Give people a memorable show. Don’t wait for someone to publish you; write a story or poem, draw a picture, make it a ‘zine (small run, independent magazine), sell it to friends and strangers. Now you’re published! Add it to your bio!
(Ok, to be honest, all that in-person self promotion stuff terrifies me, but if I have learned anything about life and WRITING, is to go toward the things that frighten you. It’s the only way to live authentically. I’ll update y’all in the future on how this goes.)
If, like me, introversion is your north star, you might be better served by the Wide World of Interactive-at-a-Distance Social Media. We will assume you currently have some kind of presence, since you are reading this blog, but is it the kind of presence that will get you readers? Will they Buy Your Book when you publish? Will they flee from your constant begging?
If you dig around on the internet, there are tons of articles and blogs discussing this problem. I advise you to just absorb all that you can stand, let it stew, then follow your instincts on how and where to spend your energy. If you are going to continue to write, you have to save enough of your limited energy for that.
There are also a few Amazon e-books that have helped me:
Kristen Lamb’s ‘Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World’ (WANA International 2013) is a clear-eyed look to the future of self-publishing and the age of on-line personas. She also heads a writer’s co-op, and blogs about the challenges a writer faces. She’s fun to follow on Facebook, too.
Brian Rathbone’s ‘How You Can Sell More Books: Proven Audience Building Strategies’ (White Wolf Press 2015) is from his experience in the fantasy genre, but could be applies easily to other genres as well. He’s a tech-minded guy, so some of it went over my head, but could smack you right in yours. He delivers lots of sane advice for writers in general, and plenty of bad dragon jokes if you follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
If you want examples of how to mix the two types of self promotion together, then follow successful authors on social media. Some of my favorites are Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, and Kent Wayne on Twitter or Facebook. They are funny and promotional without being annoying about it.
Sorry that this is all I have on this topic, for now. I’ll pass along any thing else I find in the future. If you have a good resource for self-marketing and would like to share with the rest of us, feel free to drop a suggestion or link in the comments.
If you found this blog of interest, there is more in my over-ambitious Low-Budget Writing Program: